Okęcie Airport incident
The incident occurred at a time when strikes and other forms of civil resistance were intensifying in communist Poland. It led to the suspension of several prominent players and the resignation of Ryszard Kulesza, the team manager. The Polish Football Association sent Terlecki, Młynarczyk, Boniek, and Żmuda home and imposed various bans. Most of the banned players were reinstated during 1981, but Terlecki was not. He emigrated to the United States in June of that year and never played for Poland again.
About Okęcie Airport incident in brief
The Okęcie Airport incident was a dispute between players and technical staff of the Poland national football team on 29 November 1980. The incident occurred at a time when strikes and other forms of civil resistance were intensifying in communist Poland. It led to the suspension of several prominent players and the resignation of Ryszard Kulesza, the team manager. The Polish Football Association sent Terlecki, Młynarczyk, Boniek, and Żmuda home and imposed various bans preventing them from playing at the international and club level. Most of the banned players were reinstated during 1981, but Terlecki was not. He emigrated to the United States in June of that year and, although he returned home five years later, he never played for Poland again. The team was preparing for a 1982 World Cup qualifying match away against Malta on 7 December. The squad’s departure was scheduled for 29 November, ten days before the game, so the players could attend a training camp in Italy, then contest a warm-up match against a team representing the Italian league. In June 1976, a series of protests took place across communist Poland, soon after the government announced plans to sharply increase the fixed prices charged nationwide for many basic commodities. These demonstrations and the events surrounding them brought the Polish workforce and intellectual political opposition together. By late 1980, four out of every five Polish workers were members of the trade union Solidarity. The government took several steps to obstruct Solidarity’s emergence, enforcing press censorship and cutting off telephone connections between the coast and the hinterland, but despite these efforts, by late 1980,.
four out of every five Polish workers wereMembers of the union. The first Polish international player with a university degree in anything other than physical education, he eschewed the Polish sports magazines read by many of his teammates on road trips in favour of Western news journals. Like many Polish intellectuals, he sympathised with movements such as Solidarity; he twice blocked Polish footballers following their example. The late 1970s saw the Polish football Association and the Warsaw police force blocked both PZPN and PPN’s attempts to force their way into the football league. The PPN blocked both ZPNs during the late 70s and 80s following the example of their footballers, both of whom were blocked by the police force. In November 1980, it was ranked sixth in the world by the Elo rating system, and in November 1980 the team was ranked 6th by FIFA. The players continued their protests at the airport, where the players were condemned by the association as insubordinate \”rabble-rousers\”. The Polish media took hold of the story and over the following days, vociferously attacked the rebellious players. Meanwhile, the players again defied the communist authorities by arranging for the players to meet Pope John Paul II. The players were sent home and banned from playing for the next year.